Mercedes To Take Time in Choosing Hamilton Successor

Mercedes' Toto Wolff states there's no urgency in selecting Lewis Hamilton's successor for the 2025 Formula 1 season.


By Ben Bush
Updated on March 8, 2024

Toto Wolff 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix

Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes’ Formula 1 team, emphasises a relaxed approach in deciding Lewis Hamilton’s replacement for the upcoming year, with Max Verstappen’s name frequently mentioned.

The F1 community was taken aback last month when Hamilton revealed his decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari starting in 2025, courtesy of a break clause in his contract. This move by the seven-time world champion has opened a highly coveted spot beside George Russell, though Wolff insists on a thoughtful selection process.

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Several drivers, including Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, and Alex Albon, have been associated with Mercedes following Hamilton’s departure. Additionally, the team’s rising star, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, is under consideration despite a challenging start to his rookie F2 season with Prema in Bahrain.

“A championship-winning team 17th and 18th, in F2, that’s not at all where they should be,” Wolff said when asked about Antonelli’s start to life in F2.

“I think you can look at him against the team-mate, that is one of the comparisons, and I think Oliver Bearman is a top driver

“But I think, like I always said, I’m almost guilty of talking too much. We will see how the next few races pan out.

“I’m in no hurry for us to take a decision on drivers. I’ve been rushed in a hurry by Lewis. So, this time around I’m going to take it easy and evaluate the market.”

Speculation about Max Verstappen potentially moving to Mercedes has been ignited following a dispute between his father, Jos Verstappen, and Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner. Jos was observed engaging in a lengthy discussion with Mercedes’ Toto Wolff in the Bahrain paddock over the weekend, and rumours have surfaced that they had dinner together on Friday night.

In light of inquiries regarding the possibility of Verstappen switching to Mercedes, Wolff’s response was highlighted by F1-Insider, stating: “Everything is possible”.

During a media session after Saturday’s race, Wolff said: “I think the driver will always choose the quickest car. That is fundamentally what it’s all about.

“At the moment the Red Bull is the quickest car, so that will obviously be the priority.”

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Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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